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Like so much else in our lives, B2B sales are going remote. The months of sales teams working remotely from home have increased longer sales cycles and in-person engagement. “The world was already changing before COVID-19,” Chris Weber, Corporate Vice President of the Small, Medium and Corporate segment for Microsoft, told me in a recent conversation. He said pre-pandemic industry data showed “field sales spend over 50 percent of their time remote from customers. And that’s up almost 90 percent since 2014.” Remote sales are hardly a short-term trend.

However, even Weber’s own Microsoft Digital Sales team needed to adapt to a completely remote workforce. Check out my conversation with Weber to learn how his organization has weathered the storm and how remote selling can be fast-tracked within your business.

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Providing personalized customer experiences at scale

Weber’s team used Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Sales Insights to transition to full remote selling with fantastic results, providing personalized customer experiences at scale while reducing costs by 10 percent. At first he had wondered, “How could we help our sellers reach more customers remotely yet keep their conversations contextually rich and personalized?” The team found that the Sales Insights capabilities from Microsoft Dynamics 365 were key to answering that challenge.

Conversation intelligence in Dynamics 365 Sales turns millions of sales call hours into data and indexes it all to create actionable insights. It, thereby, helps quantify customer emotion, sentiment, and priorities, supporting sellers to personalize their conversations. Weber continued, “I can look on a daily basis and figure out, what is resonating with customers? How is our marketing working? What are their pain points? Even down to seller behavior: how much time are we talking versus listening? Are we creating negative or positive sentiment?” In today’s complex environment listening selling with empathy is a critical factor to growing sales and retaining customers.

Dynamics 365 provides data-driven recommendations for the best prospects and customers, the next best action to take with customers, predictive lead scoring and opportunity scoring to reveal the best prospects and customers to focus on, and alert sellers to the most impactful actions to move deals and relationships forward. It is important that sales reps can host engaging and productive meetings with prospects and customers in a secure environment, plus access sales documents, customer records, and gaining a comprehensive 360-degree view of their customers in that same workspace.

Gaining complete, comprehensive views

Gaining a comprehensive view of both customers and their own remote teams is something that the national disaster response organization Team Rubicon put into practice as they managed huge quantities of data on their 120,000 volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

They built their volunteer-management system on Dynamics 365, and with it, were able to better address volunteer deployments, including the challenge of not shifting people from a known spread zone to a non-spread zone. They also used it to identify volunteers with special skills and deploy them to COVID-19 hot zones that most needed their help.

“Using Dynamics 365, it’s easy for us to continually build up the story of each individual and determine where their unique qualities would be most useful,” said Art delaCruz, President and Chief Operating Officer at Team Rubicon. “This creates incredible opportunities for that volunteer, and ultimately it helps us harness their capabilities and capacities to better respond to disasters and help people around the world.”

Team Rubicon also used predictive analytics in Dynamics 365 to forecast where aid will be needed in the future. By combining infection rate data with other information sources like potential weather events and social vulnerability, they can see which areas are flattening their curves and where the next spike could occur. “We can find gaps in aid and fill them,” said delaCruz.

The tools for digital selling

Whether you are selling for a major tech company or organizing volunteer deployments, a remote organization can present similar challenges. It takes time to coach and model for selling and marketing with empathy before a remote organization can scale and find consistent success in this new landscape.

So much has changed in how we all interact on a daily basis but, fortunately, the basics of customer relationships, from trust to empathy to understanding the customer’s business, remain intact. The work just requires new tool sets. We can’t fix the wider circumstances out there, but we can support your organization with those toolsets and best practices. Dynamics 365 has products to help enable companies of all sizes to thrive. Take the next step toward an agile, optimized digital selling practice.

Explore more insights, tips, and best practices to ramp up your digital selling operations for B2B customers:

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